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Abuse Is Not Part of the Collection Process!

by Don Current on July 12, 2010

Paying Bills

photo courtesy meddygarnet

According to a report, debt collectors are stepping up the game as evidenced by a rise in the number of harassment complaints being filed. If you are in the unfortunate position to be on the receiving end of this, remember, you have rights.

In 1977, Congress created the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). This act sets guidelines that debt collectors MUST abide by while collecting debts. Knowing your rights and how to deal with the collectors can improve these calls to some extent.

Here are several “cant’s” that the collectors must abide by. They can’t call before 8am or after 9pm in YOUR timezone. If you work an off shift and these times are not appropriate for you, then you may notify them in writing of the times that are convenient for you. Make sure ANY correspondence with a collector is sent certified mail with a return receipt request and proof of delivery. You may also notify them of places they can’t call, such as your place of employment.

They cannot discuss the purpose of their call with anyone not named on the debt. They may contact your family members for instance to verify your address or location but they may not divulge the reason for their inquiry.

They may not harass you the consumer or your family, friends, or employer. They may not use inappropriate or abusive language. They cannot collect more than the owed debt without legal agreement. They cannot ask for or accept post-dated checks without notifying you in writing.

Always remember that YOU are the one in charge. You are the one in control of the money, and therefore have the power. Make sure you set the tone for the calls. Make them know that you will only discuss the issues with them on your terms. Your best bet is to communicate with them. Let them know when and how much you can pay, and make sure you live up to your end of the bargain.

One of the most important things to remember is to NEVER put unsecured debts such as credit card debt, ahead of your food, shelter, clothing and transportation. Always pay those items first, and then take care of your other debts with what is remaining.

Your best bet for making your interactions with debt collectors as pleasant as something like that can be, is to be calm, courteous, and civil. You should also communicate and keep up your end of the bargains. Make sure to document everything and get any settlement agreements in writing before sending the money.

It’s not an experience I would wish on anyone, but there are ways to deal successfully with it. If you follow this advice and still have obnoxious and abusive collectors, then maybe it’s time to take it to the next level and involve the FTC and your state’s Attorney General regarding their abusive behavior.